Had an experience a couple of weeks back that didn't sit well with me, and I've thought on and off about e-mailing the restaurant just to make a comment. But I've hesitated because the issue was over patrons who appeared to be "part of the furniture" there.
Went to a higher end steak & oyster place a few weeks back, and we found ourselves seated near a party, who through the meal, became apparent that they were either friends of the staff or related to the restaurant in some way, basing this opinion on the actions of the servers, special meals arriving to the table etc.
This wasn't a problem during the earlier stages of our meal, and not noticeable excepting the traffic to and fro, making us wonder why that table was so special (servers were sitting with them, chatting, back-patting etc-plus they had at least two servers to their four party table). What did become very very obvious, was the behavior of one of the patrons at the table, that left a very bad taste in all of our mouths after we left.
We were all having drinks with our meal as well and feeling warm and fuzzy, so this is not an issue of looking down on that type of thing, but this guy proceeded to get VERY obviously drunk as the evening proceeded, as evidenced by the increase in his volume, and noticeable the couple of times he stood up. Well, that and the bottles of wine that were killed at the table before their meal even showed.
Some time later, the guy could hardly stand (they hadn't received their meals yet), and was staggering to the point that he was careening dangerously towards our table, and we feared he'd crash over it, or onto one of us; it was making everyone pretty nervous. In addition to this, the guy was extremely loud, was dropping f-bombs at the same level, loudly proclaiming how "f-ing hammered" he was, and after receiving his meal, began playing with it (picked up a full crab and "danced" it about). Thankfully our meal was cluing up at this point.
We saw no evidence that anyone spoke to the guy, save for one person in his group once saying "shh" at one point when he got really loud. No one at the restaurant did anything and it was that kind of situation where we not only didn't want to further ruin our night (and there were older kids at the table), but the way the situation was set up there, it felt uncomfortable, and hey, no one wants to piss off a big drunk guy either. Also, I wasn't catching the bill.
If anything it seemed as though the staff there catered even more to the guy and the table, despite his behavior.
Quite honestly, even though the place gets great reviews, knowing that this party is either a regular at the place or related to the owners or something, is enough to turn me off going back.
I wonder if the restaurant realizes how badly this reflects on them. And I wonder how you approach these types of situations with restaurants.